I love to sit on my back porch. I sit, sip delicious green tea, breathe, and look.
One tree is particularly attractive to me. It stands in my neighbor’s backyard, and greets me from above their fence. I first noticed it as its leaves turned from green to brilliant gold. Its trunk and branches stood in spectacularly stark contrast to the blazing leaves.
I began to wonder if I could capture it in art. Each time I’m on the porch, I look at this tree. I study it. I admire it. I imagine how I might capture its shape and structure. I wonder what colors and techniques I might use to create the fiery leaves glistening in the sun.
Then, one day, in a remarkably unexpected turn of events, I noticed the tree was bare. All its leaves had fallen to the ground …
… and I saw the sky.
Same tree. Same sky.
And yet, completely new.
New perspective. New information. New understanding. New love.
It’s amazing isn’t it?
I’m contemplating doing a study of this tree and sky. Can you imagine? Each day, maybe more than once a day, I would capture this tree and sky in my journal. Every page the same, and yet wildly different! Even if two pages end up being the same, I will grow in my understanding of the tree, the sky, my materials, and my process. And, who’s to say I have to make the sky blue, or the clouds white? It’s my journal, my study, my discovery, my process, my learning, my joy!
I’m excited … and a bit nervous.
While I wonder if I have a watercolor journal lying around, and where it actually might be, my thoughts turn to my Kindergartners.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if I did this tree and sky study, and then shared it with them? Not as an art project, but as a way to be, and as a powerful way to learn!
I should copyright and market this as a new pedagogical practice – The Sit, Sip, Breathe and Look, Method of Learning. Sit, Sip, Breathe, and Look — Increased learning through relaxation and curiosity. For short I could call it the SSBL Method of Learning.
I started writing the paragraph above with a chuckle. I thought, typed, deleted, and thought some more as I crated a title for my learning method. My chuckles — and clarity– increased as I typed the quick explanation and abbreviation. Naming it seemed to enhance the legitimacy of this as a fantabulous pedagogical practice! Hmmm. I think there’s an article, or some coaching possibilities here.
Until then, back to my students. How would I present my study and the SSBL Method to them? What would I want to them to know?
*It’s good — and important — to sit, sip, breathe, and look.
*Our brains learn best when we, and they, are relaxed.
*Noticing, thinking, and wondering are fascinating, fantabulous, and fun.
*Be open to more — more noticing, more thinking, more wondering.
*Look, and then look again.
*Even when you think you know something, look again.
*Especially when you think you know something, look again.
*Be willing to be surprised. Expect it, even!
*It’s ok to not know, yet. It’s actually kind of exciting!
*It’s ok to be a little nervous.
*Be inspired by others.
*Share your noticing, wondering, thinking, ideas, with others.
*Create a study.
*You can do it.
And, there’s no point in telling them all of this, if I don’t also help them do it.
So what might I do to help them embrace the SSBL method of learning?
*Create the infrastructure they need to be successful.
*Talk with their parents and invite them into the SSBL method and concept of learning.
*Explain some of the brain science the supports this method of learning.
*Encourage the parents to create opportunities for the children to sit, sip, breathe, and look.
*Inspire the parents to join their children in their sit, sip, breathe, and look sessions.
*Gift parents with their own study journal.
*Incorporate this form of inquiry and learning as a regular part of our school day.
*Provide time for students to sit, sip, breathe, and look — for their own interests, and curricular purposes.
*Create journals for them to use to record their studies.
*Teach them how to make journals that they can make for their studies.
*Join them in their studies, and invite them into mine.
*Model curiosity, wonder, and awe.
*Value their study and make time to let them share it with others.
I can’t wait to give this a bit more thought, and then give it a go with my girls! Oh, (wink) and market it!
Great idea, Molly, as usual! Love the sipping, looking, and really noticing! Same river, different current! Something Zen in this!
Thanks, Jojo!!! Love the river connection 😁 and yes very Zen and all the other mindful, contemplative, faiths.
This is sooooooooo good!
Thanks! So glad you like it.
Okay…I want to be in your classroom Molly! XO
Aw, thanks!!! That made me laugh and feel fab! 😁